Oral health and general wellness are connected. A wealth of research has been dedicated to studying the links between common oral health conditions like gum disease and general health concerns like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Quite a bit of this research has shown that there is a correlation between the development of periodontal (gum) disease and cardiovascular health conditions. When it comes to men’s health, this research matters—particularly because men have higher risks for developing gum disease and heart disease than women.
The Incidence of Cardiovascular Disease & Gum Disease Among Men
Studies show that the incidence of both gum disease and heart disease is higher among men than women. Some of these statistics might startle you.
- Heart disease is the most common cause of death among men from all ethnic groups
- About half of men’s deaths attributed to heart disease were asymptomatic at their onset
- Gum disease is over 56% more likely to affect men than women
- Men tend to have poorer dental health including excessive plaque and tartar accumulation as well as inflamed gingiva
- Roughly 80% of the adult population in the USA will develop a form of periodontal disease at least once in their lifetimes
Connections Between Periodontal Health and Heart Health
Did you know that people with gum disease have a two to three times higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease—especially heart attack and stroke?
The exact correlations between heart disease and periodontal health are still being researched. Previous studies have shown, however, that the plaque present in periodontal disease can enter the blood stream. This plaque and the bacteria that infect the gums can attach to arteries in the heart.
Additionally, the level of inflammation present among those with gum disease appears to contribute to health issues including the cardiovascular variety. Harvard Medical School specifically points to the link between the long-term inflammatory responses of gum disease and atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fatty deposits of plaque in the arteries.
Preventing Gum Disease for Men
Preventing gum disease has a number of health benefits for men, including reduced risks for developing cardiovascular problems. The most effective way to prevent periodontal disease is to practice proper oral hygiene. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology set forth guidelines for oral hygiene that include:
- Brushing teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time
- Flossing once each day
- Using ADA-approved oral hygiene tools and fluoridated toothpaste
Beyond practicing good oral hygiene, men should receive two dental cleanings and checkups each year, spaced about six months apart. Regular dental exams will help detect gum disease at its earliest stages, when it’s far easier to manage and treat.